While teams don't start lining up their Draft boards for next year immediately after the completion of this year's, they will begin work on the class shortly after collecting their breaths. :: 2018 Draft coverage ::Scouts will be very busy this summer travelling to showcase events for high schoolers and high-level
While teams don't start lining up their Draft boards for next year immediately after the completion of this year's, they will begin work on the class shortly after collecting their breaths.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
Scouts will be very busy this summer travelling to showcase events for high schoolers and high-level college leagues to build follow lists for the 2019 Draft. It's way too early to truly be able to project what the top of next year's first round will look like, but that won't stop us from trying. This year's first round started with five college players; next year's could start with a high school shortstop. Here's a look at a potential top 10, basing the Draft order on the reverse big league standings on Thursday.
1. Orioles (19-42, .311): Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage HS
Had Witt been in the 2018 class, many thought he would be at or near the top of the first round. He'll get his chance a year from now. The Texas high schooler has five-tool potential with the ability to stay at shortstop long-term. One evaluator put at least a 60 (on the 20-to-80 scale) on all of Witt's tools.
2. White Sox (20-40, .333): Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State
Oregon State had two hitters taken in the first round this year and it shouldn't take long for one to go early in 2019. Rutschman might be the best all-around backstop in the class. He's a plus defender with a gun for an arm and excellent receiving skills. Rutschman is a switch-hitter with bat speed and plenty of raw power to tap into.
3. Royals (21-42, .333): Hunter Barco, LHP, The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Barco might be the best high school arm in the class, a big, strong lefty who can run his fastball up to the mid-90s. He throws a slider and a changeup, can throw strikes with all three pitches and gets high marks for his competitiveness on the mound.
4. Reds (22-41, .349): Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
If Rutschman is the top catcher in the class, Langeliers might not be far behind. He has excellent catch-and-throw skills with outstanding pop times to second. At the plate, Langeliers is quick to the ball and can drive it to all fields, with double-digit home runs in each of his first two seasons.
5. Marlins (22-40, .355): Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS (Oviedo, Fla.)
The Florida Gators commit could be the best pure hitter in the class. Greene swings it from the left side with power and a plus hit tool. He's likely a solid average defender in a corner outfield spot and should have the kind of bat to profile well there.
6. Rangers (27-38, .415): CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity HS (Roswell, Ga.)
If you're looking for a high-end athlete with ceiling, then Abrams might the prospect for you. He's a 70 runner with a plus arm, giving the Alabama commit every chance to play shortstop long-term. There's a lot to like with Abrams' offensive game as well, with a chance to hit for average and some pop as he physically matures.
7. Blue Jays (27-35, .435): Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky
Thought to be one of the top sophomore arms in the nation, Thompson missed some time with an elbow issue, but did return successfully in May. The 6-foot-2 left-hander, a 2017 freshman All-American, should be Kentucky's Friday night starter as a junior with a fastball up to 95 mph and an impressive array of secondary stuff.
8. Padres (29-35, .453): Rece Hinds, SS/3B, Niceville (Fla.) HS
Hinds' power bat has been on display for some time now. Committed to LSU, he played well at last summer's Tournament of Stars at USA Baseball's National Training Complex and was supposed to participate in the High School Home Run Derby on All-Star Sunday in Miami last July, but he was scratched because of an ankle injury. Hinds has huge pop from the right side of the plate that he has shown he can get to in games. He has a plus arm with the chance to be a solid defender at third at the next level.
9. Mets (27-32, .458): Matt Wallner, OF, Southern Miss
A product of the Minnesota high school ranks, Wallner has been a run producer and closer at Southen Miss. While he's mid-to-upper 90s off the mound, his power potential as an outfielder is what should drive his Draft stock. The 6-foot-5 outfielder has plus pop from the left side and is quite athletic for his size.
10. Twins (27-32, .458): Nick Lodolo, LHP, Texas Christian
The big left-hander was the 41st overall pick of the Pirates in the 2016 Draft and opted to head to Texas Christian instead, where he's been in the rotation for two years running. Lodolo has been a bit up-and-down, but he does have a fastball that touches 95 mph and will flash a solid breaking ball. He's put on good weight in his college career, and there could be even more in the tank.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.